BY DR HERMAN
George Dobell ruined everything. After banging on a bit over the first two tests about how bad the pitches were, flat, lifeless (quite rightly, but this is not a time for sense), he finally got his wish. A pitch with a bit of life in it, a bit of assistance for the bowlers. And looked what happened! Look! IS THIS WHAT TEST CRICKET IS MEANT TO LOOK LIKE GEORGE? Maybe we were happy with the slow, pretty boring cricket being played before. At least it went on for days. Boring days, but at least it was cricket, being played for days. George, this is all your fault.
More seriously though, the 47 all out rule still holds. The Australian top order is good at collapsing. Really good at it. A pitch that is “doing just enough” is their kryponite. A little bit of swing or seam is more than enough to make Australia’s attempts at batting look like a washed up sportsman’s worst acid trip.
The Australian selectors knew this. They knew that batting would be important in the fourth test. That’s why they dropped Mitch Marsh for his brother Shaun Marsh, who bowls less but bats more, but who sadly isn’t called Mitch. With strengthened batting and a weakened quota of Mitches, Australia went into bat. Sadly, the pitch was “doing just enough”.
And on the pitch that was “doing just enough” the Australian
batsmen people holding wooden objects seemingly had no idea what their role was, what they were meant to be doing, or even where they were. Thrust into a situation they didn’t understand, they wafted and waved and edged and edged and edged and edged again. Calling it batting is way way way too generous. Batting takes time. Free-association-wooden-implement holding might be a more appropriate name for what we witnessed. There are very few days where the statement “I could have done a better job” are true about professional sportsmen, however, yesterday was one of them. For everybody. We all could have done, if not a better job, a job of similar quality to highly paid professional sportsmen who have trained all their lives. We could have done “just enough”.
Sure, Broad bowled well. He did “just enough” with the ball. But this wasn’t a pitch that was “hard” to bat on, 4 for 270 odd shows that. Broad wasn’t bowling “unplayable” deliveries. He was doing “just enough”. Batsmen should be able to survive “just enough”.
That is why the ineptitude we witnessed last night is still difficult to comprehend. That is why I am still struggling to get my head around what the fuck happened. There are no good explanations apart from the ones that have been stated 100 times. Which is why scapegoating George Dobell makes sense. It’s as good an explanation as any.
(Sorry George, we love you, we are just struggling to come to terms with things).